As this enticingly titled book begins, Genevieve is preparing to hold a “boatwarming” party on her barge, which she is renovating. She’s invited two sets of guests, her old friends and colleagues from London where she used to live, and her new neighbours whose boats are moored in the same marina near Rochester in the south-east of England. The celebration is a mixed success, as the two groups of people have less in common than they all thought at first. Genevieve is disappointed because Caddy, her best friend from London, has failed to turn up.
That same night, Genevieve hears a thumping sound on the side of the barge. Upon investigating, she realises there is a body in the water. A body whose face looks remarkably like Caddy’s, though she only has a brief glimpse by torchlight.
The rest of the book tells parallel stories: Genevieve’s old life in London leading up to her decision to buy her boat; and the police investigation of the presumed crime. Although I found the main part of the novel very readable, I did not really take to it, mainly because I had little patience with Genevieve. When in London she holds down two of my least favourite jobs, handling both of them in a rather devious fashion. In the sections where she’s living on the boat, she seems torn between longing for an old friend who has asked a probably illegal favour of her, and her attraction to one of the police officers, in-between occasional bouts of sanding and painting.
The book ends up being more of a thriller than a crime novel with a good plot twist or a “whodunnit?” element. I found the final sections on the barge, intended to be suspenseful and scary, unrealistic to the point of silliness. As I found Genevieve an unappealing person, I was uninterested in the build-up as to which of two men she would eventually choose for a serious relationship. Perhaps this lack of interest was also partly due to the fact that the two men are only seen by the reader through Genevieve’s eyes and don’t have independent lives of their own, and hence are rather cardboard. The same applies to the police investigation: all we know of it, which is very little, is via Genevieve.
As I had very much enjoyed the author’s previous novel, Into The Darkest Corner (which deservedly was Amazon UK’s best book of 2011), I found Revenge of the Tide a sad disappointment, showing very little of the potential of the earlier book. Nevertheless, it is quick and easy to read; people who like romantic thrillers with a touch of raunchiness will probably like it very much.
I purchased my copy of this book.
About the book, and more, at the author’s website.